IF I TOOK MY CAR FOR REPAIRS AND WAS TOLD IT BE READY WITHIN4 WORKING DAYS BUT IT IS STILL NOT FIX AFTER14 DAYS, WHAT LEGAL ACTION CAN I TAKE?

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IF I TOOK MY CAR FOR REPAIRS AND WAS TOLD IT BE READY WITHIN4 WORKING DAYS BUT IT IS STILL NOT FIX AFTER14 DAYS, WHAT LEGAL ACTION CAN I TAKE?

Everytime Iask if it is ready the owner or mechanic tells me that it’s not; that something else is wrong I already paid half of the estimate for the repair.

Asked on March 3, 2011 under General Practice, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends--if you basically believe him--that is, you believe they are finding additional problems--you can try to get him to commit to an end date and price, but otherwise leave it with him. If however you think he's committing fraud--lying to you--you may need to demand you car back and either refuse to pay anymore or pay then sue for recovery  of the money.

Complicating matters is that if, to date, you have approved the additional time and repairs, you are probably liable for costs to date--if the shop said, "we need to do X and Y also to the car" and you allowed them to do this, you have approved and are possiblly responsible for the costs, again, unless you can show that they actually have lied and committed fraud--which can be difficult.

You may wish to start by having the shop give you a new time and cost estimate, including work done to date. You can then decide whether to authorize the rest of the work or not; even if you authorize it, you can and should hold them to the estimate and not allow them to do any additional work with additional approval from you in writing.

In short, you can holds shops, etc. responsible as long as you don't, on a rolling basis keep authorizing more work. If you do, even if it was unwise, it's difficult to avoid paying for it. You need to keep a tight control on what is done from the beginning.


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